Saturday, December 06, 2008

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

"Rapture" in the sense of living persons being instantly and supernaturally taken up to be joined with the returning Christ, seems to have passed its popular "Left Behind" vogue. I can't remember the last time I saw a bumper sticker that said, "In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned." There seemed, and still seems, to be an air of superiority about those who, when the going gets tough, think they will celestially get out of Dodge and thus be spared the worst days of the great tribulation.
If we're going to take Paul seriously, we're going to have to return to the beginning and wrestle again with what this really meant and means. Other than taking flight in the literal sense. N.T. Wright calls this a glorious metaphor--not a literal transformation, but a spritual one.
Shall we have hope? By all means! Even as those who lived and later died in Christ had and still have hope.Will Christ come again? Aye, we hold fast to that which we say in the Creed and in the Eucharist: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. If we are his, then we will indeed be part of that return, whether we be "quick" or have fallen asleep by that day.
So let us gently but firmly decline to debate the pre-, mid-, post- or pan-tribulation controversies. Wherever we walk, drive, bike, boat, or fly, let us trust that God will guide us, but not leave our pilot-less vehicle to crash and burn on some future occasion when we are snatched up. Let us instead be so caught up in the love of God that other souls are drawn to the light, and find the one true source of that Light.

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